New Redskins offensive coordinator Scott Turner spoke with members of the Washington media for the first time on Wednesday, and didn’t hesitate to describe what he needs from the quarterback position.
“The No. 1 thing is the commitment level,” Turner said. “Taking away, obviously, the physical skills needed to play the game. As far as just the approach, you’ve got to be the most committed guy in the building. Your teammates have to see that. The coaches have to see that. Because that’s how you develop trust and that’s how you develop leadership.”
While new coach Ron Rivera declined to commit to 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins as the team’s franchise quarterback during his introductory news conference earlier this month, Haskins’ development figures to be pivotal to Turner’s success. The needs Turner described, intentionally or not, focused on areas for which Haskins received some criticism as a rookie.
“If you’re the last guy in, first guy to leave and you don’t have a mastery of the offense as a quarterback and you try to tell somebody else what to do, it’s not going to work,” Turner continued. “No one is going to listen to you. ... That takes work. Guys see it. Guys see when it’s there and guys see when it’s not.”
Turner was complimentary of Haskins during his interview session, and it was clear throughout the end of last season that Haskins had begun to show an improved maturity level. Teammates described his improved study habits, his body language looked better during interviews with reporters, and the infamous in-game selfie after a win over the Detroit Lions that caused him to miss the game’s final play turned into a laughable teaching moment over time.
Still, Haskins is far from a finished product, and his development is expected to have a major impact on the success of Turner’s scheme. The 37-year-old called plays for the first time in the final four games of 2019 after Rivera was fired and the Panthers promoted him to offensive coordinator. Turner said he was a “really big fan” of Haskins coming out of Ohio State and feels he improved as the season went along. He also noted that Haskins hasn’t played a lot of football after starting just one season for the Buckeyes, and expects experience to have a significant impact.
“All the physical tools that you want are there,” Turner said.
The new coordinator also said that he will adapt his offense to take advantage of what Washington’s players do best.
“We have versatility within our system where we’re really going to fit and play to our players’ strengths,” he said.
Turner’s father, Norv Turner, was fired as the Redskins’ head coach after the 2000 season and seven years with the organization. But Scott Turner said he has no animosity in his return to Washington, instead calling it a “dream come true.” Turner was 12 years old during his father’s first season with the Redskins, and he was a high school senior that final season.
“It’s pretty surreal, to be honest with you,” Turner said. “This is where I kind of consider home.”